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Now Rice faces special frying

Issue No. 1895

IT IS not just Blair's government which has been plunged into crisis after lies about the war started to be unearthed. Revelations from Richard Clarke, who served under both Clinton and Bush as a counter-terrorism chief, have rocked the US White House.

Last week Clarke exposed Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, who pleaded to be allowed to bomb Iraq within days of the 11 September attacks. Now Clarke has claimed that the Bush administration may have known about the 11 September attacks before they happened. He challenged Condoleezza Rice, US national security adviser and Clarke's employer, to reveal e-mails and memos he sent her warning of the threat of Al Qaida.

Clarke says he warned Rice about the danger of Al Qaida attacks as early as January 2001-but that she did not seem to know what the organisation was. Rice has now had to agree to testify before a Congress committee, after earlier refusing to do so. The move is a humiliating U-turn for Rice and her master in the White House.

Powell's very dodgy source

DURING HIS famous theatrical performance at the UN Security Council in February 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell talked about Iraq's 'mobile biological facilities'.

He cited 'eyewitness accounts' of trucks that could produce enough deadly anthrax 'in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people'. 'We have first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails,' he said.

Now intelligence officials in the US have revealed that the eyewitness accounts were based on the dubious testimony of a single discredited Iraqi defector, known as 'Curveball'.

US intelligence did not meet him or know his real name when Powell addressed the UN. It was later discovered that Curveball is the brother of a senior aide to Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi, the convicted fraudster once pushed by Bush as a possible future ruler of Iraq.

Bush had asked Chalabi to help 'search for evidence' proving the existence of biological warfare trucks in Iraq. Curveball, an Iraqi exile with a degree in chemical engineering, suddenly 'appeared' in Germany.

Even Israel had doubts

ONE OF the US's staunchest allies is now calling intelligence on Iraq that helped launched war into question. A new report by the Israeli parliament into Israeli intelligence used by Britain and the US to make the case for war, says that the information was based on 'speculation-not fact'.

Claims that Iraq was expanding its armoury were based on 'dubious interpretations'. The report concluded that there were 'serious intelligence failures' in the run-up to the war.

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Sat 3 Apr 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1895
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